Sunderland have a chance to tighten their grip on a play-off position as they face Rotherham at the Stadium of Light tonight.
The Black Cats are fourth in the League One table and one point ahead of Sheffield Wednesday in seventh, with one match left to play after this game on Wearside.
Alex Neil’s men won 5-1 last time out against Cambridge and will surely be looking to bring that positive momentum into this meeting with Paul Warne’s visitors.
How many changes will Neil make to his side for this clash? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make three alterations to the team from Saturday, with Alex Pritchard, Callum Doyle and Dan Neil all coming in.
Starting off in defence, Doyle may come back in at centre-back to replace the injured Carl Winchester. The Northern Ireland international suffered a groin injury against Cambridge and it remains to be seen when he will be able to return for the Black Cats.
However, the on-loan Manchester City defender has started 32 League One matches this season and made 2.9 tackles and interceptions per game. This shows that he is a player who Neil can rely upon as he has been a regular starter for the majority of the campaign.
In midfield, the head coach might bring in young Dan Neil to replace Luke O’Nien. Against Cambridge, the ex-Wycombe man – who former Black Cats manager Jack Ross once dubbed “awkward to get past” – was underwhelming as he missed a ‘big chance’ and recorded a SofaScore rating of 6.6 – the lowest of all the outfield players outside of the injured Winchester.
This may open the door for Neil to come into the team. The academy product has produced three goals and seven assists from midfield this season and has the potential to be a match-winner for Sunderland tonight.
Finally, we are predicting that Pritchard will start. Mark Cooper once dubbed him an “immense” player and that is exactly what the 28-year-old has been for the Black Cats. The maestro has averaged a sublime SofaScore rating of 7.10 in League One this season, chipping in with four goals and seven assists, and that is why he should return to the XI.
AND in other news, Double blow as Sunderland hit with a huge setback ahead of final two games